Senate Panel Approves FDA Tobacco Regulation

In April, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to grant the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) <"">tobacco product oversight. The bill then moved to the Senate where a U.S. Senate panel backed the legislation yesterday, said Reuters, adding that the bill moves on to the full Senate and, if approved there, to President Obama.

Before reaching the President, the House and Senate have to iron out any differences, said Reuters. Senators from tobacco-producing states have vowed to fight the bill that grants the FDA power to control the manufacture and marketing of tobacco products; however, the President supports it. Included in the measure, which passed the House in a 298-112 vote and the Senate panel in a 15-8 vote, will be the FDA’s authority to set nicotine levels in tobacco products, put new curbs on flavored cigarettes, and require new, larger warning labels on the front and back of cigarette packs. Under the law, the FDA could also prevent cigarettes from being advertised as “light,” “low tar,” and “mild,” and could restrict cigarette advertising to simple black and white ads, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Drop Dead Gorgeous movies Said Senator Christopher Dodd (Democrat-Connecticut), “All of us believe the time has come to act to protect our nation’s children … Every day we delay another 3,000, 4,000 children begin to smoke.” Dodd oversaw the meeting that finalized the Senate’s version of the bill and led the two-day meeting to finalize the Senate’s version of the bill. Also according to Dodd, nearly three billion American children smoke.

The law was introduced in response to a Supreme Court decision from 2000 that said the FDA didn’t have the authority to regulate tobacco without an act of Congress. Tobacco giant Philip Morris supports the legislation, but according to an earlier New York Times piece, others in the industry are opposed.

The Obama administration recently released a statement announcing that it backed the measure, stating, “Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is a contributing factor to scores of diseases and conditions inflicting misery upon millions of our citizens. Further, tobacco use is a major factor driving the increasing costs of health care in the U.S. and accounts for over a hundred billion dollars annually in financial costs to the economy.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids recently pointed out that smoking-linked lung cancer kills over 125,000 Americans annually and causes a variety of other cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and an array of serious illnesses that adversely affect just about every part of the body. The group stated that smoking is the overall leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 400,000 Americans and costing the U.S. an astounding $96 billion in health care bills annually.

Reuters explained that, if passed into law, the measure could go a long way toward stemming such illnesses and deaths in the United States.

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The measure, said Reuters, does not permit the FDA to regulate farmers or tobacco, but does permit regulation over “smokeless tobacco products,” citing “dissolvable tablets, strips, and toothpick-like sticks,” such as what has been recently developed and moved into the market by Reynolds and also by Star Scientific Inc.

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